Tell Me What You Would Have Done Differently at Work

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When interviewers ask you questions about things, you would have done differently on the job they want to gain insight into your weaknesses.  They may also be attempting to determine how you respond to failure and whether you can identify and address your shortcomings.  

How to Prepare an Answer

The best approach is to reflect on your past work experiences and make a list of situations which didn't turn out the way you would have liked.

  Identify similar scenarios which you encountered again after those initial disappointments, but where you performed differently. 

Best Answers

Be prepared to mention any steps you took to upgrade your skills, strengthen your knowledge base or modify counterproductive behaviors.  The reason you would have done it differently is that you learned how to handle a difficult situation to get a positive outcome.

For example, you might have had an early experience as a manager when you allowed an individual with a negative personality to interfere with the group dynamics of your team.  If in a subsequent management experience you took an assertive approach in coaching a similar employee to change his behavior (or leave the unit), then you might reference the initial incident as something you would have done differently. 

Given your subsequent experience, you can say that you did handle it differently later on and alleviated any concern the employer might have about your toughness or assertiveness as a manager.

 If you had consulted Human Resources, took a workshop on handling difficult employees or employed another strategy to address the weakness, then you would surely mention the steps you had taken.  

Be Careful When Discussing Weaknesses

Naturally, you should avoid referencing any scenarios revealing weaknesses which would interfere with you carrying out key elements of the job, unless you can offer clear substantiated facts that those weaknesses are no longer an issue.


You don’t want to give the interviewer an opportunity not to hire you because he’s concerned about your ability to do the job. Here are tips for responding to interview questions about weaknesses.

Be Honest

As with all interview responses, be sure to select issues which you can discuss honestly and sincerely since interviewers will usually notice fabrications.  

Additional Information

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